Traders in Talavadi hills have decided to close their shops and extend support for the protest planned at Bannari on February 10.
The protest is against the proposed move to ban vehicle movement during night on Bannari-Dhimbam stretch of the Coimbatore – Bengaluru National Highway 959.
The Madras High Court had on January 28 asked the Erode District Collector H. Krishnanunni to convene a meeting with stakeholders before February 18. This is regarding imposing vehicle ban from 9 p.m. to 6 a.m. on the stretch that passes through the Sathyamangalam Tiger Reserve (STR) so that road kills of wild animals can be prevented.
But, political parties, traders, farmers, workers and the public in Talavadi, Hasanur and Sathyamangalam oppose the move claiming the ban will affect the livelihood of people of both, Tamil Nadu and Karnataka. They want the Forest Department to take steps to prevent accidents.
A 25-member committee was formed with panchayat presidents, union councillors and representatives from various organisations, that decided to stage a protest at Dhimbam on February 10. However, due to issues related to space availability at Dhimbam, the venue has been shifted to Bannari.
Over 250 shops, including vegetable mandis, in the hill area will be closed for a day.
Former Bhavanisagar MLA P.L. Sundaram said that close to 2,000 people will take part in the protest. “Ban on vehicle movement will in no way help prevent accidents. Instead speed bumps should be installed on the two-km stretch from Bannari to the foothills where animal crossing is frequent”, he added.
Mr. Krishnanunni told The Hindu that a meeting with all the stakeholders will be conducted at the Collectorate next week and the date will be finalised soon. “Officials from the Forest Department, transport and lorry owners associations, traders and farmers’ representatives will be asked to participate and give their views,” he added.
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